With US$30 million in prize money at stake, the Dubai World Cup is one of the major race days in the world. It was developed through the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as a stage upon which the best in the world can gather and compete for the highest stakes in the industry. The narrative of the Dubai World Cup began in 1996, with the entry and then the victory of US super horse, Cigar. Cigar was the most famous horse in the world at the time – a two-time US Horse of the Year and winner of 16 consecutive races. His presence at the first running of the Dubai World Cup was quite a coup and set the tone for every Dubai World Cup that came after.
Meydan Racecourse was purpose built in 2010 as a venue equal to the size and drama of the Dubai World Cup and it is always a party. It’s known as the UAE’s biggest sporting and social occasion and is where style and horse racing come together. As well as the nine absolutely top-notch horse races that we field on the day, we will also stage the highly anticipated Dubai World Cup opening ceremony and the Dubai World Cup Concert featuring the international recording artist, Sia.
RUB SHOULDERS WITH
The beauty of the Dubai World Cup and of racing in general is that it attracts so many different types of people. It is known as “The Sport of Kings”, yet racing has captured the imaginations of many different types of people from heads of state to the man and woman in the street and absolutely everyone in between for hundreds of years. We offer hospitality packages to suit every budget with the early-bird offer on Apron Views priced at AED450 (US$122) and rising to AED600 ($163) on March 19 (store.meydan.ae).
Outside of the racing, the Dubai World Cup concert and opening ceremony are always highlights of the day. The ceremony takes place between races and includes a live show and pyrotechnics while the 70-minute Sia concert will be staged following the running of the Dubai World Cup. Admission to the concert is exclusive to Dubai World Cup ticket holders. The Thursday before the big day is highlighted by Breakfast With The Stars, a ticketed five-star event that allows attendees to enjoy a luxurious breakfast buffet while mingling with horse owners, trainers and jockeys on the Meydan Racecourse Apron. In the background the Dubai World Cup day, runners are exercised on the track and we lay on expert commentary as well as live music and raffles (AED175 ($47) for adults).
The Meydan Hotel is attached to Meydan Racecourse and Grandstand, which offers 284 mostly track-facing rooms and suites, allowing guests to watch the races from the comfort of their own room. However the hotel fills up very quickly ahead of the Dubai World Cup. There are a number of excellent hotels in close proximity to Meydan Racecourse that allow easy access to the event and are popular with racegoers.
The Dubai World Cup caters for upwards of 80,000 people. We have very talented in-house chefs who prepare and serve spectacular dishes. Depending on the package we can offer all-inclusive buffets or private dining while our suites offer racegoers the chance to tailor their experience of the world’s richest race day. DWC is a massive hospitality operation, and to achieve the highest standards we join forces with key hospitality partners to ensure that all our guests are treated to the ultimate race-day experience. We also work with some well-loved Dubai brands in our popular Apron Views location, including Barasti, and of course we have the return of the Bubble Lounge.
WHAT TO WEAR
Raceday fashion is formal and our guests tend to pull out all the stops. Ladies wear hats and fascinators and men wear suits or UAE national dress. Jeans, trainers, shorts or sneakers are not permitted on Dubai World Cup day and we encourage elegant outfits among racegoers. Many people plan their outfits weeks ahead of the event, especially if they are entering the popular Style Stakes.
As is fitting on a day with $30 million at stake, the horses take centre stage and we urge all racegoers to take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the world’s fastest horses at close proximity. All racegoers can access the lawns area close to the Parade Ring to see some of the world’s top jockeys and horse connections up close. The Dubai World Cup Style Stakes is the fashion highlight of the event and offers various “best dressed” categories, which carry amazing prizes. We also run a number of raceday prediction competitions, which offer cash prizes as well as a raffle. But of course, the absolute can’t-miss highlight of the day is the 22nd running of the $10m Dubai World Cup, which is the last race on the card and goes off at 8.45pm.